12 Pound Rainbows In The
Shadow Of Glaciers
Living in Southwest Montana I often
hear rumors and stories about secret locations where huge rainbows and
browns are reported to reside. One not so secret place is the Blackfeet
Reservation. Bordering Glacier National Park on approximately 2,400 square
miles in Northwest Montana the Blackfeet Reservation contains some of the
best trophy lake fishing in the United States.
Several years ago after hearing story
after story repeated by friends about the horses [large rainbows and
browns] that were being caught on the Blackfeet Reservation I caved into
my desire to hook the fish of a lifetime and made my pilgrimage to the
After obtaining the necessary tribal
fishing and float tube permits in Cutbank Montana I made my way to Mission
Lake located about 4 miles off of U.S. 2 just west of Cutbank.
Access to most of the lakes on the
Blackfeet Reservation is via a dirt and gravel road system that leaves a
lot to be desired especially if you happen to get caught in the rain which
can turn these roads into Montana Gumbo in a very short time. Something
that even 4 wheel drive has problems dealing with.
I could see Mission Lake off in the
distance. I drove to the top of a bluff that afforded a dramatic and
beautiful view of the entire 750 acre lake. I scanned the lake's surface
looking for any signs of fish or surface feeding activity. Just below the
bluff I could see several fish moving parallel to the shore within easy
casting distance. After pulling on my waders I tied on a pattern
recommended by a friend and made my way to that area. It was a beautiful,
cool morning and the wind which is usually a problem on the Blackfeet
Reservation was non-existent. I worked my way along the shore casting then
retrieving, working my leech pattern along the margins of the lake. The
water was cold and the neoprene waders proved to be a good choice as I
waded deeper into the lake. I made my next cast and retrieved ever so
slowly when suddenly my line movement came to a fast abrupt halt. I was
fast to a beautiful Mission Lake rainbow. After what seemed to be several
hours of battle I landed measured and released an 8 1/2 pound horse.
I hooked and landed several other
very nice rainbows that morning and broke off a very large rainbow that
looked like a small Whale when it came out of the water only to part my
tippet from my leader. It had to be at least twelve pounds !
Copyright @ 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005,
2006 by Bob Kloskowski